Trading Standards stomp on pirates

Seize software worth £141,220

Trading Standards have been stomping on software pirates across the UK.

The guys have seized suspect hooky software which would have a value of £141,220 if it was legit.

Here's a selection of recent collar feeling action:

  • Eleven traders are under suspicion of being software pirates following a multi-agency investigation into the Bingley Sunday Market, Bradford on 10 June 2001.

    Officials from West Yorkshire Trading Standards and West Yorkshire Police were accompanied by investigators from ELSPA (European Leisure Software Publishers Association), F.A.C.T (Federation Against Copyright Theft) and M.C.P.S (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) checked out the market and seized 4,000 PlayStation and Dreamcast titles, 2,500 music compact discs and 400 videocassettes. The games software alone has an equivalent retail value of £120,000.

    All items are now being examined. If they're found to be rip-offs then eleven individuals, nine males and two females, aged between twenty and forty-one years, and resident of the Keighley, Bingley, Howarth and Bradford areas of West Yorkshire are going to be prosecuted.

  • A twenty nine year old man from Ebbw Vale, South Wales, is under suspicion for the illegal supply of counterfeit computer games software after Officers from Blaenau Trading Standards, accompanied by Gwent Police, searched his gaff.

    The search uncovered two computer systems, both with scanners, and valued at more than £1,500. These are believed to have been used pirate games. Three hundred suspect counterfeit compact discs containing PlayStation, Dreamcast and PC games software, with a retail value of £9,600, were also discovered. All items were seized.

    The discs are currently undergoing examination by ELSPA to establish their legality. If they're dirty the man may face prosecution under trademark and copyright legislation.

  • Monmouth County Council Trading Standards are looking to put a Bristol counterfeiter out of business. They visited Chepstow market on Sunday 17 June 2001, saw a 61-year-old bloke selling what they believed to be counterfeit computer games discs, and seized the lot - a total of 332 compact discs with an estimated retail value of £9,960.00.

    The booty is now being examined by officials from the ELSPA to check if its bent or not. If it is the stallholder may face criminal prosecution for trademark and copyright infringements.

    In addition, a quantity of sunglasses, also believed to be counterfeit, were seized for examination. So Monmouth Trading Standards officers might look a bit cooler on their next raids - only joking.

  • A total of 54 compact discs which contained PlayStation titles, and had a retail value of £1,620, were seized from a car boot sale being held at Hayes Football Club, Middlesex.

    London Borough of Hillingdon Trading Standards Service took action on Wednesday 11 April and grabbed the suspect disks from a thirty-three-year-old male stallholder.

    The stallholder, from the Southall area of Middlesex, faces prosecution if he is discovered to have been selling dodgy disks.

ELSPA has this advice on how to spot a fake game:

  1. Buy from a recognised outlet, never from street traders, 'door-to-door' salesmen or car boot sales.
  2. Look at the packaging; avoid poor quality or photocopied printed labels.
  3. Genuine PlayStation games discs are always black, never blue, silver or gold and are not released on recordable CD's.
  4. Genuine PlayStation 2 games are blue on the back - and DVD's are silver and are not released on recordable CD's.


Mike Heald has this addition to the ELSPA guide in case people are still unsure whether that £5 Playstation2 game is authentic or not...

5) Discs that have the game's title written on in black
marker pen are not likely to be genuine.

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